RAINE VENTURES LEADS $22 MILLION ROUND FOR CHEDDAR ALONGSIDE LIBERTY GLOBAL, GOLDMAN SACHS, ANTENNA GROUP, 7 GLOBAL CAPITAL, AND DENTSU VENTURES TO FUEL DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL EXPANSION
Existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners, Comcast Ventures, The New York Stock Exchange, AT&T, Ribbit Capital, Amazon and Altice USA all participate
NEW YORK, MARCH 19, 2018 — Cheddar, the leading, live, Post-Cable Network, today announced a $22 million Series D financing led by Raine Ventures to launch its second live news network and fuel international growth. New investors in the company included: Liberty Global, Goldman Sachs, Antenna Group, 7 Global Capital, Dentsu Ventures, and the family office of Kelly Loeffler and Jeff Sprecher. All existing investors participated in the round.
“In the past year, we at Raine have only deepened our conviction around the rise of brand-first new media companies. Cheddar has been the poster child for creating distinctive, high quality original content with its scoops, interviews, live broadcast innovations, distribution deals, and ad products. It is the prototypical Raine company and we are thrilled to support Cheddar in its next phase of growth,” said Gordon Rubenstein, Managing Partner of Raine Ventures and Cheddar Board Member.
“We’ve been proud to invest and support Cheddar since it was an idea in January 2016,” said Jeremy Liew, Managing Director at Lightspeed Venture Partners and Cheddar Board Member. “Cheddar has created a new category of live news, and this funding will only accelerate what has been a breakneck pace of execution over the past two years.”
“Our investment in Cheddar is the first step in what will be our international collaboration with the company,” said Simon Freer, Chief Commercial Officer of Liberty Global’s content investments arm, “Cheddar is the leader in live digital news video, and owns all its IP. We believe Cheddar can go global, and we are excited to collaborate with the company to make that a reality.”
“We believe that the Cheddar brand and content will resonate with the young audiences around the world who are consuming news in a new way. As an investor, we are excited to partner with its outstanding management team and fast track Cheddar’s European expansion, starting with our TV and digital assets across our footprint,” said Theo Kyriakou, shareholder and Chairman of Antenna Group.
Cheddar has dramatically increased its distribution in the past year with live linear broadcasts and on demand programming on Sling, Comcast X1, Amazon, Facebook, Spotify, Twitter, Twitch, and a host of other platforms. The company will launch its Snapchat Publisher Story in April.
According to a recent study conducted by Market Strategies International (MSI), a provider of audience measurement services to leading cable networks, Cheddar viewership has already climbed to 10% among U.S. millennials (13% among 18–24 year olds) after less than two years of its first broadcast. The average live Millennial Cheddar viewer has also quickly formed loyalty to the brand with 89% of users who have ever watched live tuning in in the last month. One in five 18–24 year olds is aware of the Cheddar brand.
Hundreds of thousands watch Cheddar live each day and hundreds of millions watch Cheddar video clips on social media monthly.
It is also notable that Cheddar viewers are characterized by a high degree of affluence based on both household income and net worth, with 58% of the audience having net worth in excess of $250,000. MSI conducts audience measurement for Cheddar on an ongoing basis.
“I’m thrilled to welcome this group of leading global media powerhouses into Cheddar,” said Jon Steinberg, Founder and CEO of Cheddar. “We are strengthening our already robust balance sheet with capital that we can use to bring our Post Cable Networks to Europe and beyond. We own all of our IP and now is the time to monetize this asset globally.”
Next month Cheddar plans to launch “Cheddar Big News,” a general news network focused on non-partisan, national news with the style and sentiment of local news. “Cheddar Big News” delivers the day’s headlines from politics, business, sports, weather and trending stories without crowding the set with pundits and panels.
Cheddar has grown its editorial capabilities significantly with the hiring last December of New York Times veteran Jim Roberts as editor in chief, and Alex Heath, a senior reporter at Business Insider as the lead reporter on “Cheddar Scoops.” The company has broken a number of stories on layoffs, executive changes, and new products at major media and technology companies.
The company has had live interviews with: Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav, Alibaba CMO Chris Tung, SPANX CEO Sara Blakely, and eHarmony CEO Grant Langston. On the political front Cheddar’s DC Bureau recently interviewed U.S. Senator David Perdue of Georgia, Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy, and Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.
Cheddar has also expanded its live event coverage conducting dozens of interviews with celebrities from the Sundance Film Festival and SXSW including Tyler Perry, Debra Messing, Armie Hammer, Nicolas Cage, Regina Hall, Brooklyn Decker, Vera Farmiga, and Jim Gaffigan.
The company’s advertising and content marketing products “Cheddar Segments” and “Cheddar Shows” have also pioneered the “live-read” sponsorship model with partners like Dunkin’, TradeStation, E*TRADE, Ally, HP, Volvo, and a host of others. The company will more than double its revenue this year. Average positive perception increase from the audience for participating brands on these programs has been 68%.
Cheddar is the leading, live Post-Cable Network focused on covering the most innovative products, technologies, and services transforming our lives. The network covers this news through the lens of the companies and executives driving these changes. Cheddar broadcasts from the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange, its street level studio in the glass corner of the Sprint Store in the Flatiron Building, WeWork on Los Angeles, and the White House. It is available on Sling TV, Amazon, Twitter, 60% of smart tvs in the U.S., and Facebook.
The company was founded by Jon Steinberg, President and Chief Operating Officer of BuzzFeed from 2010 to 2014. Its investors include Lightspeed Venture Partners, Raine Ventures, Goldman Sachs, Liberty Global, Comcast Ventures, AT&T, Amazon, Antenna Group, Ribbit Capital, The New York Stock Exchange, Altice USA, 7 Global Capital, Denstu Ventures.
About The Raine Group
The Raine Group is a global merchant bank focused exclusively on technology, media, and telecommunications. The firm has offices in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London, Shanghai, and Mumbai. With a global reach, Raine focuses on investment and advisory opportunities where its deep industry experience and unique network of strategic relationships can create value for portfolio companies and clients. For more information, visit www.raine.com.
The Raine Group
Mary Beth Grover/Taylor Ingraham